The Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s national water agency, has received SGD 51 million (USD 37.8 million) in funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) for water research. This is the fourth tranche of RIE funding received by PUB, which will be used to develop innovative and high-impact solutions to meet national water needs over the next five years. This CWR program forms part of the larger Innovation and Enterprise (I&E) strategy to develop and commercialize cutting-edge water technologies to cement Singapore’s position as a global hydrohub.
With the country’s water demand expected to almost double by 2060, continuous research and development (R&D) is required to spur innovative solutions that can ensure a secure and sustainable water supply for the future. Areas of focus identified for R&D include reducing energy use in seawater desalination, increasing energy self-sufficiency in used water treatment and reducing industrial water demand. In line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, two new areas of research for the water sector – i) Waste Reduction and Resource Recovery and ii) Climate Science and Adaptation – are also included in RIE2025, to address future challenges brought about by climate change.
For the two new areas of focus for research, PUB is looking at technologies and solutions that can extract useful chemicals from local waste streams, which can then be used for water and used water treatment processes. Additionally, it also looks to extract rare metals such as lithium and barium from brine, a by-product of desalination that consists of highly concentrated saline water, that can then be used in other industries.
In the second area of research, PUB is looking to study the impact that climate change will have on the Singapore water system in the next 10, 20 and 40 years. With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly pronounced, the PUB is looking to study the long-term impact of climate change on Singapore’s water systems and infrastructure against climate change. This would then allow PUB to adapt strategies to safeguard the country’s water quality. Applicants for research funding are also free to propose other areas of study, except for areas related to flooding and coastal protection, where separate studies are already ongoing.
(Sources: PUB; The Straits Times)